Michigan State University will award $425 million dollars to the 332 victims who were sexually abused by the university’s sports doctor, Lawrence G. Nassar. Another $75 million is set aside for victims who may not have come forward yet. The settlement is one of the largest awarded in a university sexual abuse scandal.
However, the settlement is not the end of this scandal for Michigan State. Although the university has promised to change policies to prevent future abuse, questions still remain. The biggest being: how was Nassar allowed to continue practicing at the university during his 20-year career while the complaints continued?
Many women, who testified against Nassar, said the university enabled Dr. Nassar’s abuse for years by ignoring those who came forward with complaints. Due to this, the university is currently undergoing several investigations by Michigan’s attorney general, the US Department of Education, and the NCAA.
Although many of the investigations will go on for quite some time, it is known that complaints against Nassar began in the 1990’s. Nassar officially faced a Title IX investigation by the university for sexual abuse in 2014. However, university officials claimed that the victim did not understand the differences between a sexual assault and a necessary medical procedure, so the investigation ended.
Since all of this came out, several university leaders, including Nassar’s supervisor, have been removed from their positions at the university.
Many of the survivors shared their stories of abuse in emotional testimony before judges, who sentenced Dr. Nassar to more than 100 years in prison. The conviction and financial settlement are hoped to be a step toward healing and closure.
Victims of sexual abuse are often resistant to talking about their experience and may even feel shame or embarrassment. For this reason, many sexual abuse survivors are reluctant to testify. However, the legal process may offer several psychological benefits believed to help victims overcome the aftermath of abuse.
The American Psychological Association reports that survivors of abuse can eliminate stress through talking or writing about the abuse experience.
The act of testifying in court can help a survivor to do this. Additionally, taking part in a lawsuit against the abuser can allow a survivor to regain control, and experience closure on this chapter of their lives.
Those who suffer the psychological consequences that often accompany abuse may not have the means to get the professional help they need. Settlements in sexual abuse cases can offer survivors the financial resources necessary to obtain professional treatment.
Involvement in a lawsuit against an abuser can help survivors understand that they are not alone in their thoughts, reactions, or emotions. The simple knowledge that there are others who have experienced something similar can reduce feelings of isolation, shame, and secrecy.
The Delaware sexual abuse lawyers at the law firm of Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. offer compassionate, individualized legal help for those who suffer from the aftermath of sexual abuse or assault. Get the help you need and the justice you deserve by calling 302-656-5445 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our Wilmington or Georgetown offices, where we represent clients throughout Delaware.